I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Little Brown and Company
Jasper “Jazz” Dent is a charming, handsome teen with a dark past. Dear Old Dad, has Jazz refers to his father, is a notorious serial killer serving 30 life sentences for the murder of over 124 people. Being a teen is hard enough, but when you live in a small town like Lobo’s Nod, everyone knows your business and everyone is just a bit wary of the local murder’s son. When the police find a body in a field Jazz knows in his gut that the woman was the victim of a serial killer, but the police aren’t convinced (and some of them even suspect him). So, with the help of his best friend Howie and his girlfriend Connie, (normal people have best friends and girlfriends) Jazz takes what he learned about murder from Dear Old Dad and sets out to find the real killer. The race is on and the body count is climbing and all the while Jazz struggles with his past and worries about his future. An inner battle rages and he can’t help but wonder which will win out, nature or nurture?
I could not put this book down-except for at bed time. It was too creepy to read before bed. I have read a few reviews that stated that there was too much of Jazz’s introspective turmoil, but for me, that was the best part of the book. In fact, I would have been suspicious of a character who had grown up the way Jazz did and was completely normal. Yes, Jazz is surprisingly well-adjusted considering his childhood, but he is still damaged and he is highly aware of and frightened by that damage. That is what makes him likeable. That is what makes me want to see him succeed. But the damage is also what could lead him astray. The mystery is incredibly well written, full of red herrings, and kept me guessing until the end. Great attention is paid to forensic details and the descriptions of crime scenes are detailed and vivid, which can be disturbing for some readers. Great character development, inner turmoil, bloody crimes, a riveting mystery, and a hint of much-needed comic relief blend to make this a dark and devilishly delightful read. I highly recommend it with extreme caution. Please be aware that there are graphic scenes of violence, references to sexual assault, and harm to an animal. This book is certainly not for everyone, but fans of Dexter will certainly enjoy this one.
Readalikes: White Cat by Holly Black and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake